I have been put to sleep by so many Merlots in the past that when I get my hands on a kickin’ bottle like this I can’t help but go back to the store, buy 6 more bottles and tell everyone about it.
1999 “Walla Walla Valley” Merlot
Is there a varietal that L’Ecole does at the moment that isn’t at the top of its class? Come on; answer me when I ask a question of you. Oh, you said “No”, sorry for yelling. That seems to be the answer I was looking for. Their Semillon: Excellent. Their Cab: Awesome. Their Chard: very, very nice stuff. This ’99 Merlot in front of me right now: simply “jacked”. Or maybe I should clear that up by saying it is brilliantly delicious and has jaw dropping flavor and balance, and I rarely say that about a Merlot.
I have been put to sleep by so many Merlots in the past that when I get my hands on a kickin’ bottle like this I can’t help but go back to the store, buy 6 more bottles and tell everyone about it. Who cares if they run away from me and call security. At least I can get out in the morning and open up another bottle.
This wine is thick red and deep in color. It is unfined and unfiltered and has some body and some lean muscle to show. Great oaky, cherry aromas arise and they assert some strength and grip. The grapes for this wine come from three vineyards up there in the Walla Walla Valley, half from the Seven Hills vineyard and the other half split from the Forgotten Hills vineyard and the Pepper Bridge vineyard.
Cherry, plump dark berry, and plum oooooze into your mouth and the softness is there all around your tongue. It is potent, has grip, but also some real softness. Try it and you will see. It is way too easy to knock back, I could get in trouble with this wine, but I would have fun. The cherry is heavy, the dark berry is just plain old succulent and the plum gives a lil’ bit of tightness but really gives into the others and shows seductive character.
The rich flavors end in a damn good mix of mild chocolate, leather and cinnamon spice that all play their part in a silky end to a really awesome bottle of juice. Yes, you could live on this for about a month if necessary. Walla Walla seems like it is the place to be right now and since L’Ecole has been there since ‘83, we have to give them their props in knowing what not many did back then; Walla Walla Valley has potential to make some of the best wine in the west.
Oh yea, Martin Clubb has something to do with it also. Now that we all know this, L’Ecole still hits us hard with winners year after year. Get used to that lil’ cute school house on the label, drawn by the cute little 9 year old kid “Ryan”, about 20 years ago. Then open a bottle and don’t feel guilty when you say “@#*&, this is good”. We all do it.
Back to L’Ecole No. 41